While playing Far Cry 5 and doing incredibly stupid things, I remembered that the organic nature of the game is the reason why I was so fond of the series. An open-ended gameplay structure in which the player has all the tools to tackle any objective is perfect as it implores creativity. There will always be a need for scripted events for narrative purposes, but allowing the player to use trial and error as a means of learning the physics of the game world can be a lot of fun.
Here are a few of my favorite games that allow the player to do just that:
Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
If you want a game that practically refuses to hold your hand, then Breath of the Wild is your game. After the opening moments, you are free to go wherever, whenever, and how you get there is entirely player-driven. The game is challenging and pulls no punches, if there ever was an open-world game that required just a bit of critical thinking in its various puzzles and boss fights, this is it. You will die, a lot, and regardless of the enemy type, if you aren’t thinking, then you’re being taken advantage of. If it rains, don’t take out a metal weapon, because there’s a chance you’ll be struck by lightning. You can however, coerce an enemy into a stormy area and watch them get blasted by lightning, which is really entertaining. Looking to escape because you’re close to being surrounded? Start a fire and then use your glider, the rising heat will lift you up and then you can glide to safety. Breath of the Wild was an achievement in game design, not because it’s the first to implement an organic mission structure, but because it refuses to hold your hand. It’s your adventure…own it.
From a personal standpoint, I prefer Battlefield over Call of Duty. Both first-person shooters are excellent in their own right, but Battlefield is where players create incredible moments that aren’t possible in a corridor shooter. Being able to destroy almost every structure means that if there is sniper perched on top of a building that is giving your team grief, take the building down. Create your own cover, attack objectives how you see fit. If you want to ride a motorcycle that has C4 planted on the back and then jump off said motorcycle to use it as an improved explosive device, then by all means do so, Battlefield refuses to tell you or your squad how to win a round. If you happen to parachute in, like in Battlefield 3 and 4, you can shoot rockets or snipe at the enemy while doing so, it is an incredibly feeling wiping an entire squad before you even hit the ground.
Metal Gear Solid V
Gameplay from the Metal Gear Solid series was always fairly linear until MGSV rolled around and bucked the trend. Set in an open-world, players were able to tackle objectives stealthily or go in guns blazing. If you want to adjust the time in which you tackled an objective, feel free, it was all up to the player. Even boss encounters could be tackled with creativity. Do you want to drop a supply crate mid-fight? Just have that bad-boy land directly on top of the boss. You get to do high damage and get resupplied at the same time. That’s thinking with their noggin. MGSV was built to troll the enemy. You could literally set up inflatable dolls that acted as a distraction. Enemies would investigate and you could then choose how to incapacitate them. Sprint directly at them then dive and you will slide with the cardboard box, it knocks them down and potentially could render them unconscious. From there you could ship them back to mother base through a wormhole. MGSV was bat-shit crazy, as all games in the series are, but this one gave the players freedom to play as loose as they wanted. Just don’t think about the narrative too much, you may end up confused.
Just got on YouTube and check out a Just Cause 2 or 3 video. It’s a sandbox title that allows you to do whatever you want in the world, whenever you want. Would you like to attach boosters on cars and use them as a means to fighting jets? Why the hell not? This game says to hell with physics and while it does have a narrative, it’s a simple one of liberating an island from a dictator. Blow stuff up, have a good time with it. Experiment to your hearts content, ride the top of a jet straight at a facility filled with armed guards and then proceed to parachute to guard towers and take those out one by one. I have never played a game that allowed the freedom to do the illogical things found in films. Rico Rodriguez is a stuntman who’s secondary job is acting as the protagonist. It’s a series of games that is clichéd as hell, but you don’t play this game for the narrative, you play it to blow shit up.
These are but a few titles that standout with their organic gameplay. Being able to create and control the chaos is one of the many reasons about why I love these types of games. If developers advertise a game in which I can manipulate the environment or story based off my actions, I’ll more than likely give it a shot. It is a great way to blow off steam as sometimes the linear structure of other titles can feel restricting in regards to creativity.
What are the games that allow you to blow off steam?